Lord knows how much i enjoy eating Ekpang Nkukwo. You see there is something about food that is made with a lot of love and attention to detail.
As a foodie, the first time i learnt of Ekpang Nkukwo i was intent on trying it out. Growing up i couldn’t stand any meal made with water yam. I never even tried cocoyam.
Ekpang Nkukwo is a beautiful marriage of water yam and cocoyam. It’s a pottage meal native to the Efik and Ibibio people of Nigeria and some parts of Cameroon.
Its similar to Ifokore/Ikokore of the Ijebu people which is made with only wateryam and without vegetables.
- 3 slices of Wateryam (after this is grated it should come to 1 cup of paste)
- 3 medium sized Cocoyam (after this is grated, it should come to 2 cups of paste)
- 6 Cocoyam leaves (Ugu leaves can be used instead)
- 4 Efinrin leaves shredded. (Uziza leaves can be used instead)
- 1 cup properly washed unshelled periwinkles
- Assorted Meats (beef, tripe, ponmo) – (about 200g)
- Assorted Seafood (Smoked fish, stock fish, fresh prawns, crabs)
- 1 cooking spoon of palm oil
- 1 table spoon of ground cayenne pepper
- 2 cups of rich beef stock
- 2 cups water
- 2 bouillon cubes
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp ground crayfish
I’m growing cocoyam in my garden just because of Ekpang Nkukwo. I have never been able to buy cocoyam leaves in the market, so i always have to end up bush diving. I stubbornly insist on cooking Ekpang with only cocoyam leaves.
- Wash the cocoyam leaves and cut them into segments.
- Using the grater, choose the smallest perforation to grate the yams to a paste. To avoid nicking off your fingers while grating, you can use the grating disc of your food processor. The one with the smallest holes.
- Mix the cocoyam and water yam paste together, add about 1/2 a cup of water to the mix to help loosen it up.
- Using spoon, scoop the paste into the cut up leaves, and wrap
- Line the bottom of the pot with some palm oil and periwinkle. I usually add my stock fish to the bottom of the pot too.
- Place the rolled paste on top of the cocoyam on top of the periwinkle base you created.
- Turn on the heat. You don’t want to cook Ekpang Nkukwo on high heat. So set the heat to between medium and low.
- Add your crayfish , your cayenne pepper, beef stock, water, palm oil, salt and seasoning. You can also add the pre-cooked assorted meats, and smoked fish.
- I usually check on my pot at 10 minutes intervals and shake the pot using it’s handles to lift it, so as prevent it from burning. I don’t use a ladle so as not upset the rolls.
- I also leave adding my fresh seafood to the last 5 mins of cooking so as not over cook them.
- Taste while cooking to know if you need to adjust the taste.
- Add the shredded efinrin leaves or uziza leaves. Add fresh seafood, shake the pot.
- Take it off the heat 5 mins after adding the fresh seafood. Let it rest. Stir and serve.